How to Make Homemade Sausage Seasoning

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How to Make Homemade Sausage Seasoning

You’ve read the labels on sausage, right?

There’s often MSG, sugar (or worse sweeteners), lots of refined salt and sometimes other weird fillers that I can’t pronounce.

Even in “good” sausage from pastured pork, you often find sweeteners at least and chemicals too often. Sometimes the farmers who grow animals well aren’t the ones making it into sausage, and there’s often nothing they can do about the ingredients.

If you want to avoid all those additives and save a little money, you can make any ground meat (pork, beef, turkey, chicken) into homemade sausage that’s amazing in recipes like Sausage, Bean and Greens Soup, Sausage Zucchini Bake, and Sausage Spinach Pasta Toss.

Homemade sausage seasoning also allows you to have non-pork sausage easily (kosher, right?) and make certain you know the source of your meat so you can avoid CAFO meat and potentially having strange parts like ears in your sausage.

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A cousin of mine absolutely cannot eat organ meats for health reasons and hadn’t had sausage in years. It was fun to share this with her in my sausage zucchini bake. I am lucky enough to have a farmer nearby with milk-fed pork, oh, my. Yum.

In the photo above you’ll see:

  • 1 tsp. fennel seed
  • 1 tsp. Real Salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • dash cayenne (use up to ¼ tsp.)

Simply brown one pound of ground meat and add this mixture, stirring it around for a minute or two until your kitchen smells amazing. Ta da! Ground sausage.

It’s really that easy to go #unprocessed.

I’m guessing you could also incorporate the spices into raw meat and make patties for breakfast sausage, but this is so much easier that I’ve never even tried it. I usually pull a quarter to a half pound of the cooked sausage out before continuing on with soup or pasta and freeze it for scrambled eggs or pasta sauce.

Spicy Italian Homemade Sausage

How to Make Homemade Sausage Seasoning

Whole fennel seeds

Because the flavor is more intense, I prefer using some ground fennel as well. (I just happened to be out for the first time in years when I took these pictures. Classic Katie-ism.)

This is an easy recipe to try a small amount of something (the fennel, sage), then stir around a bit, taste, evaluate, and add more if necessary.

Homemade {SPICY} Sausage Seasoning
  • 1-2 tsp. ground fennel
  • ½ tsp. whole fennel seed
  • 1 tsp. Real Salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • optional: ½-1 tsp. dried sage
  1. Stir ingredients together and store in an airtight jar.
The cayenne is definitely "to taste" and ¼ teaspoon makes it very hot, but SO good in soup and pasta. The sage adds a bit of that classic "Italian" flavor, and you could also use Italian seasoning. (Sage is the main flavor in Thanksgiving stuffing, if you're not familiar with it. It's very comforting in sausage.)


I’ve never added too much fennel. Maybe it’s impossible to add too much fennel! (You can buy fennel from Mountain Rose Herbs if you don’t have a local source for bulk spices.)

This recipe and a whole bunch of other DIY stuff to help you make processed recipes healthier are coming soon in a new eBook, Better Than a Box! It’s part recipes, part tutorial on how to reverse engineer your own recipes to make them totally real food. I can’t wait!

Have you made “homemade” sausage before? What recipe would this go well in at your house?


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8 Bites of Conversation So Far

  1. Lindsey says

    I’ve been making sausage lately, but have only tried breakfast sausage. Here is the recipe:

    1 lb pastured pork
    1 t. salt
    1/3 t. black pepper
    2/3 t. marjoram
    1/8 t. nutmeg
    1/2 t. sage

    With homemade gravy and sourdough biscuits it’s absolutely amazing!

    [Reply to this comment]

  2. says

    Thanks for this mix! We’re Jewish, and it’s really hard to find sausage that does not involve pork!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Naomi Reply:

    Harper, I also want to eat kosher, but haven’t found a meat mixture that isn’t dry and/or tough. What meat do you use, and do you add any fat to it?

    [Reply to this comment]

    Harper Reply:

    We are Karaites, so our Kashrut is a little different from “mainstream” (rabbinical) Jews. Part of that difference is that our slaughtering practices are different. That means that a Kosher logo on a package really doesn’t mean that much for us–not that conventional slaughter practices are ok either.

    Strictly speaking, our tradition is that the animal has to die by having its throat slit while it is calm. However, the important thing is not to consume the blood. We do our best to get the blood out before cooking, but thorough cooking gets blood out too.

    Unlike rabbinical kosher, we do eat the rear cuts of mammals, provided the thigh tendon has been removed, and I believe a lot of the fattier cuts are there.

    In any case, I use a lot of beef, chicken, and turkey. I also use lamb and mutton when I can afford it and goat when I can find it. Lamb is the most tender of those options, followed by beef. If your meat is getting to tough when you cook it, use some of the fat to make a sauce for it.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Naomi Reply:

    Thank you for replying, Harper. I guess I was hoping you’d share more along the lines of your sausage-making. We don’t practice rabbinic teachings either, we just try to do what scriptures say, as closely as possible for today. For instance, when I make sausage with turkey, it is extremely dry. I have only ever used turkey for this because I was so disappointed with it I’ve been hesitant to try again.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Harper Reply:

    Sorry I didn’t understand your question! I actually haven’t made my own sausage, hence my appreciation of this post. I just buy it whenever I find some that doesn’t contain pork.

    If I were to make it, I would probably start with ground beef that isn’t too lean, since poultry does have a tendency to dry out. If I were to try my hand at poultry sausage, I would go to a butcher who could grind cuts of my own choosing and have him grind DARK turkey meat.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Sarah L Reply:

    My husband hunts, so we use elk sausage, mixed with 30% beef fat. It is the fat content that makes it juicy and tender. It comes out pretty tasty, but the key is not to overcook the sausage patties.

    [Reply to this comment]

  3. Cindy says

    Thank you so much for this. We are heading into sausage making season and are looking for natural ingredients to add to our sausage, rather than using packaged yucky stuff. Looking forward to using this info.

    [Reply to this comment]

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